Why You Should Devote an Entire Day to Making Mistakes.

Image source: Jay Roeder.

Image source: Jay Roeder.

Looking back on my life, there are very few choices that I would consider honest to goodness mistakes.

Not that I didn't have my share of screw up's, bad choices (ahem, boyfriends), and seriously horrible hair styles.

But those "mistakes" (big and small) have helped to shape me into the person I am today.

And have taught me a great deal about myself.

Mistakes are not to be feared.

When you are afraid to make a mistake (or fall flat on your face), you stay completely and utterly stuck.

Making changes in your life is risky. It leaves you open to making mistakes and failing. But it also leaves you open to learning, growing, loving, and living a life without regret. Which, if you think about it, is kind of the point.

Devote an entire day to making mistakes.

Yes, you read that right.

I'm challenging you to devote time to making mistakes and failing. The bigger, the better.

Except, of course, if we're talking about putting yourself into a dangerous or deadly situation like walking down a dark alley alone at midnight.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Do something pointless, random, useless, and altogether opposite of what you normally do. We all get in the habit of doing the things we are good at, or the safe choice. And it tends to yield the same results. If you normally stare at a blank computer screen and magically wait for inspiration to come, try just writing a bunch of pointless nonsense. If you take the same route home from work every day, try another one. Take helicopter flying lessons just because. You never know what it will lead to!
  • Stop trying to be good at things. When we try to be “good" at things, we worry about having to prove ourselves or be perfect. When we try to get “better,” we work on developing ourselves, our abilities, and our techniques. You tell me which one feels better.
  • Put yourself in unusual situations. Not a people person? Go to a networking event. Hate exercise? Go to a running meet-up. Fancy yourself the least creative person you know? Take an art class. The more you put yourself in awkward and unfamiliar territory, the more you learn about yourself.
  • Try the first thing that comes to mind, not the best. A lot of great ideas get buried because we don't think they are good enough. Why not just try the first thing that pops into your head and see what happens? It might not be the best or most well thought out response, but you will certainly learn something from each experience. Even if it's that it doesn't work.
  • Reward your failures! I watched an interview with Sarah Blakely—the creator of Spanx—where she talked about the importance of this very point. Growing up, her father would ask every one in the family the same question: "What did you fail at today?" And then her father did something pretty amazing. He said, "way to go!" and gave her a high five. Reward your failures. They very well could lead to a billion-dollar idea.

It's your turn!

Leave us a comment describing one mistake that has taught you about yourself and shown you what you’re capable of.